Berries are wonderful fruits. You can put them in desserts, drinks, salads, or use them to adorn other foods like pancakes. You can even eat them by themselves and they still taste really good. As you’ve likely ascertained by now, berries also have a myriad of health benefits. Let’s take a look at how these tasty treats can help keep you healthy!
1. Berries are packed with antioxidants
Pretty much all berries are loaded to the brim with antioxidants. For those who don’t know, antioxidants help prevent illness, improve your skin and hair, and lead to a healthier life. That’s why people who drink smoothies all the time always seem so happy!
2. Berries can help you lose weight
Berries are low in calories and that means you can load up on them without packing on the pounds. Because they are juicy they contain a lot of water, so much of their mass is really water, which contains no calories at all. A medium sized strawberry has between three and six calories. A cup of blueberries has only about 80 calories. Instead of grabbing the potato chips, grab yourself some berries.
3. Berries have a bunch of fiber
Pretty much all berries consist of about 85% water. The rest is mostly fiber and fiber is an integral part of a healthy diet. It helps you stay regular and maintain your weight, and is essential for bowel health. Keep in mind, though, that you must actually eat the fruit to get the fiber! There really isn’t any fiber in juice even if it’s 100% juice. To get the fiber, you’ll need to grind your berries up in a smoothie or eat them whole.
4. Berries contain a boat load of folate
Folate (better known as vitamin B) is known for its health benefits that include improvements to cardiovascular health. There are even studies that suggest that it can help stave off mood disorders like depression. It is especially good for pregnant women as it helps prevent fetal growth disorders and may prevent neurological birth defects.
5. Berries have a ton of anthocyanins
The jury is still out as to what anthocyanins do exactly, but pretty much everyone believes that they give you health benefits of some kind. For those who don’t know, anthocyanins are what gives berries their distinct colors. Think of them like nature’s food coloring. They are believed to have preventative and therapeutic properties, such as the ability to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
6. Berries can help manage and prevent diabetes
The nutrients in berries have been shown to help prevent type 2 diabetes and that’s a good enough reason to eat them right there. However, they are also really good for people who already have diabetes. Thanks to the high fiber we talked about earlier and their ability to be sweet without having a lot of actual sugar, they are perfect for diabetics looking for a sweet treat.
7. Berries can help prevent mental decline
There was a study published that suggested that women who ate berries frequently could prevent the process of mental decline that comes with age. The study says that women who ate a healthy amount of berries had better thinking, reasoning, and memory. It’s not a wild difference but when you’re getting up there, everything helps right?
8. Cranberries and blueberries can help urinary tract infections
Studies have shown that drinking cranberry juice can help you get over urinary tract infections thanks to their nutrients and ability to flush out harmful agents that can cause infection. Another study showed that blueberries have more or less the same effect. If you’re looking for better urinary tract health, cranberry and blueberry juice are where it’s at!
9. All berries can help prevent heart disease
This is standard for pretty much all fruit. For each piece of fat-free, cholesterol-free, nutrient-packed berry you eat, that’s one step further away from heart disease you’ll come. We don’t need to tell you how many studies have shown this because it’s practically all of them. More colors in your diet is better and berries come in a lot of different colors!
10. Strawberries can help keep your eyes healthy
Studies have shown that eating at least three servings of strawberries per week can help prevent macular degeneration.
11. Blueberries can be frozen without removing any of their antioxidants
All berries are great but there is the problem of them going bad. You can only buy so many at a time because all fruits tend to go bad pretty quickly. This isn’t a problem with blueberries because it’s been proven that you can freeze blueberries but still retain all of their nutritional benefits. That means you can stock up and keep them around for months!
12. Cranberries can actually help you more when taken as an extract
Cranberries are among the more unique berries. People actually don’t generally eat them raw because they are extremely tart. They’re usually sweetened and eaten dried or consumed as a beverage. However, they can also be taken in pill form as an extract. Recent studies have shown that taking them in “dietary supplement” form is actually vastly healthier for you than consuming the juice because the nutrients work best when you get all parts of the berry rather than just the juice.
13. Cranberries can prevent cancer!
Numerous studies have shown that cranberries do a whole bunch of things to help prevent cancer. This is done in a number of ways, such as improving general health in your entire body, but there are also chemicals in cranberries that help prevent the formation of cancer cells.
14. Berries may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease
Some studies have suggested that the polyphenolics found in many berries help clean out the built up toxins in the brain that are a contributing factor in Alzheimer’s disease. Nothing is concrete, mind you, but when it’s a brain disease as bad as Alzheimer’s, anything that could help is something worth trying out.
15. Berries may help prevent Parkinson’s disease
As we all know, the legendary Robin Williams died not long ago. One of the contributing factors was his recently diagnosed Parkinson’s disease. There have been studies that have shown that eating at least two servings of berries per week can reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease by up to 25%, with some men facing a reduced risk of up to 40%.
It’s very easy to incorporate berries into almost any diet, and with the various health benefits discussed here there’s literally no reason not to make a better attempt at putting more of them in your diet. They are so healthy for you and they taste great. Go out and get some!
Featured photo credit: Love Grove Health Solutions via lovegrovehealthsolutions.com
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